The danger of living in a social media world is that you can respond to news and trends in an instant. While being able to “like” a picture of a newborn baby in real time is an example of technology and heart working well together, this instant response is less helpful when something serious goes down, like what happened at the Boston Marathon. If you have anything to say, other than my heart goes out to the people and victims of that great city, than you need to put your hand over the microphone before you speak.
Sitting here and writing I am stymied. I was going to talk about putting aside silly notions of team pride, and how as a Yankee fan I still have affection for the Red Sox and the city they play in. I now feel that sentiment is cliche and insipid. We were wounded as a nation on 9/11 and we were wounded as a nation on 4/15, all other conjecture should be put aside. The people in law enforcement will or will not apprehend the criminals who did this.
We need to put aside all the noise that clouds our minds. Every swath of humanity is affected in these trying times. A bomb doesn’t care if you root for the Yankees or Red Sox, or God forbid, any of the Philly teams. And I don’t care what you think might have happened in the few hours after, and after the media overload began. Take a walk, call your loved ones, check in with all your Boston friends, but put aside your need to call your shot.
I’m as self-involved as the next guy, probably more so, but my need for attention can stand down in moments like these. More of us should take this note. It’s not about you. I’m not even sure who it’s about, but it’s not about me. And that’s as it should be. That’s the other fall-out of generations of me-first and the instant age. Our need to be the constant and tended-to center of our own worlds.
We have to be reminded that the cynic says human nature is bad. In New York, after 9/11, I was turned away for 2 days before I could give blood because so many had already given. Runners yesterday literally went the extra mile to give blood when it was probably unhealthy to be drained. That is not political, people care, and people respond. Maybe the thing to do is say hello to a stranger and ask them if everything is ok, or to implement a be nicer policy in our lives. Putting aside the need to be right and attempt to be righteous.
The danger with being able to post this in an instant is that I don’t know if the sentiment is well thought-out or if I sound like a jerk or a sap. I’m not sure how air-tight my stance is, I don’t even know if I have a stance. I don’t know if I’m begging for attention or trying to add to sensible discourse. I have to put it aside or I have to shelve it. That’s the risk, so if you have a larger platform you might err on the side of caution, and if you’re at the grocery store and you want to mouth off you should exercise that same caution. I hope I’ve been careful in this case, because this is a time of healing. The yank the band-aid off analogy doesn’t work. These are real wounds and caring is a verb. I’ll stop the preaching now, and I’ll try to be nicer, putting aside my fear to be well-liked.
Stand strong Boston.